Armando Viscarri, a native of Spain and a 29-year employee of the University of Texas Police at Houston (UT Police), is a connoisseur of culture and an ambassador for diversity.
Since 2013, he has served as a Diversity Champion at MD Anderson Cancer Center where he’s built personal relationships with several Houston-based consuls.
“I am the chairman for consulate involvement on the MD Anderson Diversity Committee,” said Viscarri, a UT Police senior public safety officer (SPSO). “I personally invite the consuls to our Diversity Celebration each year and I make sure that they have a pleasant visit to the institution.”
Becoming a Diversity Champion at MD Anderson is an opportunity for any employee wishing to support the institution’s goal of fostering an inclusive environment for employees, the community, patients and families.
“I learned about this program in 2011 and after two years I became the first diversity champion in the police department,” said Viscarri. “I love diversity for many reasons, but the main reason is that I like learning and there are so many things you can learn from other cultures.”
Members of the Diversity Council advise MD Anderson’s president and the chief diversity officer on how to best promote diversity as a way of life at MD Anderson. To become a Diversity Champion, an employee must complete a two-year curriculum consisting of a variety of courses that cover cultural competencies. Champions must also learn the tools necessary to teach others about the value of diversity.
“We are proud to have guys like Armando out there doing what he loves and representing UT Police in the process,” said UT Police Assistant Chief Paul Cross. “Not only does he make our department a better place, he is making the institution and the world a better place as well.”
In August, Viscarri played a major role in the planning and execution of the annual Celebration of Diversity hosted by MD Anderson. The growth of the event — namely the addition of more underrepresented cultures and the ever-popular fashion show — can be attributed to Viscarri. For his contributions to the event, he was presented an Awesome Job Award by the MD Anderson Office of Institutional Diversity.
His next contribution will be taking on a lead role in the planning of the upcoming MLK Day celebration.
As Viscarri carefully notes, all of this involvement extends beyond the duties of his day-to-day role as a SPSO, where he is on the front-lines of service representing UT Police on the MD Anderson and UTHealth campuses.
“I am proud of my work on the diversity committee and I am more proud to be able to represent UT Police in the process,” said Viscarri. “I always say that I’m happy for three reasons: One, I have my health; two, I have an amazing family; and three, I have a job that I truly love.”